Gujarat Governor Acharya Devvrat assented to the Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which provides for ten years imprisonment for 'fraudulent or forcible conversion by marriage', State legislative and parliamentary affairs minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama said on Saturday. The bill was passed by the state legislative assembly on April 1.
According to the amended bill, a forcible "conversion by marriage, or by getting a person married, or by aiding a person to get married" shall invite imprisonment of three to five years and a fine of up to ₹ 2 lakh. The offender may be punished with four-seven years jail term and a fine not less than Rs 3 lakh if the victim is a minor, woman, Dalit or tribal. The person in charge of the organization could be sentenced to 3-10 years jail term if an organization violates the law.
The amendment follows an announcement by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani at a poll rally in Vadodara back in February that his government would bring a strict law against 'love jihad'. "We are going to bring a law against love jihad in the Assembly. Such activities being done in the name of love jihad will not be tolerated...The BJP government will bring strict laws against love jihad in the coming days," he had announced.
BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have also passed similar laws.